Skoda says its first quarter sales increased by 11.8% to more than 242,700 units, a new record for the brand.

Markets such as China (now Skoda’s biggest national market) and India continued to grow strongly for Skoda while Russia, Eastern Europe and major Western European markets also posted double-digit growth.

The VW-owned brand also sold 95,200 cars in the month of March alone, making it the best sales month ever for the brand.

“Skoda continued on its growth course in March and in the first quarter,” said Jürgen Stackmann, Skoda Board Member for Sales and Marketing. “Though market conditions were difficult worldwide, we managed to increase our sales, bucking the market trend. This confirms our 2018 growth strategy and is a reflection of all our employees’, importers’ and dealers’dedication,” said Stackmann, adding: “In the months ahead, we will continue our model offensive and add new models to our palette.”

For the first quarter of 2012, Skoda raised deliveries in Western Europe by 3.7% year-on-year to a total of almost 98,500 cars.

In the UK, Skoda registrations rose by more than 24% in the first quarter of 2012, with nearly 14,000 vehicles sold. Austria (plus 23.6%), France (plus 19.3%), Sweden (plus 17.8%), Finland (plus 17%), Spain (plus 12%) and Switzerland (plus 9.1%) also posted strong growth in Western Europe. Skoda also increased sales slightly in Germany to 14,500 cars.

In March, Skoda’s most popular models in Western Europe were the Fabia and the Octavia, while the Yeti and the Roomster achieved the highest growth rates, posting 10.3% and 4.7% respectively. The Superb also performed strongly, rising by 3.3%.

March 2012 saw Skoda posting a high percentage growth in Eastern Europe. Deliveries to customers rose 41.4% to almost 11,600 units (March 2011: 8,200 units). In the first quarter of 2012 Skoda grew by 38.7% to about 28,300 delivered vehicles in Eastern Europe.

Russia confirmed its role as the region’s sales engine, with Skoda continuing its successful run in March, increasing sales by 47% to over 8,100 cars. For the quarter, Skoda delivered 19,200 vehicles in Russia, up 42.9% on last year. In Russia, Skoda’s most popular model in March was the Octavia again, totalling more than 4,100 deliveries to customers (plus 39.3%, March 2011: 3,000). Sales figures for the Yeti compact SUV doubled from almost 700 to a shade under 1,400 units. The Roomster advanced by 126% to almost 170 units, while the Superb rose 51.7% to just under 500 cars. Skoda also posted a significant sales increase in Ukraine in March 2012, gaining 92.1% for a total of 1,700 vehicles.

Skoda continued to increase deliveries in ‘East-Central’ Europe in March. Sales rose 6.3% to almost 11,500 units (March 2011: 10,800 units). In the first three months of 2012, Skoda grew 5.5% across the region to over 32,600 cars (1st quarter 2011: 30,900 cars). In the Czech Republic, the brand’s home market, deliveries to customers rose 3.3% to 5,300 vehicles in March 2012 (March 2011: 5,100). In Poland’s declining overall market, Skoda bucked the trend in March, raising sales by 9.8% to a total of 3,600 vehicles delivered. In Hungary and Croatia, the brand achieved double-digit sales growth at 11.5 and 55.9% respectively. The Octavia retained its title as East Central Europe’s most popular Skoda, (5,400 units; plus 17.2%), while the Yeti (plus 24.4%) and the Superb (plus 10.1%) posted the strongest growth rates.

Skoda also continued to grow in China, with deliveries to customers rising 9.6% to more than 21,300 cars in March 2012 (March 2011: almost 19.500 units). In China, Skoda achieved a growth rate of 8.9% and deliveries of 59,200 cars in the first quarter of 2012 (1st quarter 2011: 54,400 cars).

This confirms China’s status as the brand’s largest individual market for sales. In March, the Octavia (13,300 units; plus 18.3%) and the Fabia (4,900 units, plus 32.2%) were especially popular with Chinese customers.

Skoda repeated high growth rates in India for March as sales rose 64.5% to almost 5,000 vehicles (March 2011: 3,000) and 40% for a total of 11,500 cars over the first three months of 2012 (1st quarter 2011: 8,200 cars). The Rapid compact saloon, which has been available in India since late 2011, is proving extremely popular with Indian customers, Skoda said, at 2,700 units sold in March 2012 as against 2,000 in February 2012. The Rapid is crucially important for Skoda’s intended growth in the market, Skoda said.

Skoda also showed strength as sales rose in other markets in March 2012. In Israel Skoda delivered 1,200 cars to customers (plus 47.9%), close to 800 in Egypt (plus 500%) and 400 in Australia (plus 145.6%).

Skoda brand deliveries to customers in March 2012 (in units; +/- in per cent year on year):

Skoda Octavia (40,800; +15.2%)
Skoda Fabia (28,000; +2.7%)
Skoda Superb (10,600; -9.0%)
Skoda Yeti (8,900; +28.6%)
Skoda Roomster (3,900; +5.2%)
Skoda Rapid (sold in India only: 2.700; new model)
Skoda Citigo (sold in Czech Republic only: 270; new model)

Skoda brand deliveries to customers in first quarter 2012 (in units; +/- in per cent year on year):

Skoda Octavia (109,400; +15.5%)
Skoda Fabia (67,800; +1.9%)
Skoda Superb (27.600; -10.7%)
Skoda Yeti (21,400; +30.4%)
Skoda Roomster (9,400; +10.3%)
Skoda Rapid (sold in India only: 6,200; new model)
Skoda Citigo (sold in Czech Republic only: 910; new model)